Corp America March 2017

CORP AMERICA / MARCH 2017 31 , Louis C. Grassi speaks to us at Corporate America about the firmhe founded almost 40 years ago and why it is still going strong. Grown from the Group Up Grassi & Co, the 70th largest firm in the US, is a premier professional service organization specializing in accounting, auditing, tax, technology, and business consulting services. Grassi & Co. has offices in Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester County, NY, and Park Ridge, NJ as well as internationally through its association with Moore Stephens International. The firm specializes in professional services for the Not-for-Profit, Construction, Architecture & Engineering, Financial Services, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Distribution, Retail, Technology, Media & Telecommunication, Transportation, Energy & Natural Resources, and Healthcare industries, among others. Louis C. Grassi is CEO and Managing Partner of the firm, which he founded nearly 40 years ago. He tells us more about his aspirations in the beginning and his open approach to staff management. “Something I have worked towards my entire career is creating a culture of entrepreneurialism in order to provide my clients with service that is forward-thinking to help them grow their businesses—it is what I continue to aspire to everyday I am in business. “One of the things that I do that is unique - and I have been doing it since I had only four employees - is every two weeks, I take 10 people from within my organization out to breakfast and we talk about what ideas they have that I should implement to help do my job better and make this place better for all of us. “I regularly walk around the organization to stay in alignment with what is going on. One of the things you need to be as a CEO is to be honest with yourself and honest with your team and let them know your plan. You always want to keep things positive, but you have to keep them realistic because you can’t say something is great when it isn’t.” Despite the firm’s success, Louis has faced many challenges in his career, which have impacted how he runs the company. “The biggest challenge has always been the rapid pace of change in business as a whole. As an owner you always need to find new and better ways to provide value to clients. “Some of the most critical issues firms our size face today are the need to replace retiring baby boomer accountants over the next 10 years. Firms must create partner development programs to ensure they have the capacity to transition the retiring partners — but the next group will have to be tech savvy in order to support the way business will be conducted and to assist clients in improving their companies. Attracting and keeping talent will be the issue. “Since the Great Recession the economy has experienced little to no growth. As a result, growth for firms our size typically comes by taking clients away from other firms. This has put downward pressure on fees for attest, accounting and tax services. Unfortunately, this trend will continue in the foreseeable future — resulting in more firm consolidation in order to eliminate redundancies and lower costs.” Louis explains just how important it is to keep up-to-date with the latest technology trends to ensure that the firm’s offering is always at the forefront of the market. “The impact of technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics are replacing traditional business activities. Many companies are not ready for this transition. Our firm is poised to supply the processes, systems and capability to insure client success. In order to survive in today’s marketplace, all businesses will have to deliver products and services in the most efficient and cost effective manner. “In order to assist our clients with the major impact and importance of technology, we have added a technology group to help them adapt and respond to the rapid pace of change. We are also using technology to help the firm manage client engagements and foster internal collaboration— creating cross-functional teams where we are able to advise clients holistically, providing value-added services. “The industry itself is experiencing change like we have never seen before. The way accounting firms practice will change dramatically. Many of the tasks performed will need to be automated, ranging from audits to tax work, in order to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. By continuing to grow our industry service groups and add a full complement of consulting services, we aim to be the complete package for our clients. While we continue to perform their tax and audit work, we also help our clients transition their businesses in the new economy.” Louis’s future aspirations for the firm revolve firmly around growth. “M&A is very important for securing new talent and expanding our service areas. The globalization of business, the consolidation of industries and the impact of technology have eliminated geographic limitations, and therefore, we will be expanding geographically.” K Company: Grassi & Co. Contact: Louis C. Grassi Address: 488 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022 Email: [email protected] Telephone: + 1 516 336 2450 Website: 1702CA86